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What Does "High Maintenance" Really Mean?

By A. Ward

We hear this term “High Maintenance” quite frequently used as an adjective to describe Women. Men say, “She was/is high maintenance.” What does it mean to you? Do you consider yourself HIGH Maintenance? Do you think being HIGH maintenance is wrong?

High Maintenance to me isn't a financial issue, exclusively or about a woman being demanding. Although being high maintenance requires the means by which a woman's needs, wants, desires and pleasures can be given to her. There should be perks for “staying the course.” Many [women] have stayed the course and can enjoy the perks that come with working hard and smart. I do not particularly like when the phrase “high maintenance” is used for a person. I think it works perfectly well for certain vehicles, and other things such as hardwood floors, 100% linen and silk outfits, or even a long and thick head of hair. It works for things that require more attention than their alternatives, perhaps.

I am aware some women require more 'upkeep' than others but it's their choice and lifestyle. One woman may not care about makeup, manicures, pedicures, massages, highlights in her hair, fine jewelry, luxurious suites at their vacation destination, or being catered to and pampered. Another woman may seek out this treatment because it enables her to thrive and flourish. Would the latter type of woman be considered "High Maintenance?”

What I think is wrong is when a woman demands these things from someone when she isn't capable of providing them for herself. Or when she forces a man to go into debt just to maintain a facade, which isn't affordable for either of them. A man complying with such demands need to reassess his involvement with this type of woman and bid her farewell.

Read what a young man of 26, whom I'll call Michael, thinks High Maintenance women are when he was asked the question.

"High maintenance women, from my personal definition means:

1. Needs lots of time

2. Needs lots of effort

3. Are very fussy and particular

4. Are difficult and troublesome

5. Are annoying

6. Have high expectations of her partner or date

7. Will be quick to reject a person if those expectations are not met

8. Hard to please, not easily impressed

9. Takes forever to get ready

10. Something all but the most patient and tolerant men should avoid like the plague.”

And a gentleman of 68, whom I'll call George, describes a High Maintenance woman as follows:

"High Maintenance includes many things. She selects a restaurant because of she's heard VIPs go there not because of great food and service. Another High Maintenance definition is she's very demanding with little consideration of what the guy enjoys so the time together becomes high maintenance (wasted). The rental car must be impressive and so many other things.”

To be fair, here are two quotes from women who are 47 and 50 years of age, respectively:

"High maintenance here in Australia is really the term used to describe women being highly groomed which includes nail polish, good make up, classical/business clothes, etc. on a daily basis.” —Jeni

"Funny, I thought getting your nails done and your hair done and looking nice and acting appropriately was just part of being a woman/girl. Since when did the maintaining the aspects of our sex become high maintenance?” —Cheryl


And finally, a 50 year old, whom I'll call Sharon, made this contribution to the question.

1. If your purse holds more than 5 lbs of ESSENTIALS . . .

2. If you own more than 50 pairs of shoes . . .

3. If your make-up case is a double-decker toolbox from Sears . . .

4. If a small family could live in your closet . . .

5. If more than 3 items in your closet still have price tags . . .

6. If your jewelry box used to be a high-boy chest . . .

7. If you have more underwear than you can wear in 3 months . . .

8. If a weekend trip takes more than 1 piece of luggage . . .

9. If you spend more on hair products than groceries . . .

10. If your dry-cleaning bill is more than your car payment . . .

11. If you have a weekly Botox appointment . . .

12. If you're still making payments on your last plastic surgery . . .

You may be High Maintenance!

I am guilty of four of the twelve (#2, #5, #7 & #8); therefore, if Sharon is correct, I am High Maintenance! Pffft! I don't think so! I, admittedly, require more 'attention' than I used to. I am older. I deserve it. I have earned it. I also give as good or greater than I get. I never want to feel obligated to anyone or for anyone to feel taken advantage of by me. If I am over-indulgent with myself, you can count on me being over-indulgent with you. I maintain myself. I'm blessed and highly favoured! Because I'm blessed— I must be a blessing.

Are you High Maintenance? The phrase is not restricted to describe only women. Men have been deemed and a few I know, as High Maintenance. I just think people have different requirements, likes and dislikes. I hope Michael and George aren't entirely correct!

Copyright © 2007 Avis Ward of AWard Consulting, LLC

Avis Ward is an aspiring writer who enjoys writing about her spirituality, self-improvement, relationships, and women's issues. She is Dental Marketing Consultant, specializing in Orthodontics Avis invites you to view her blog.

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